About Us

Welcome to the International Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Research Society [aka Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Kokusai Kenkyukai/琉球唐手術国際研究会]. We are an information based organization dedicated to studying, the origins, evolution & tactical application theories of old-school karate & kobudo.

Established in Japan in 1989 to serve a limited group of foreign enthusiasts interested in his research and publications, the Society ultimately opened its doors to the general public in Jan 1996 to meet the numerous and varying demands of a more progressive learner.

While we greatly respect the Japanese heritage of this tradition, and the cultural legacy of its Okinawan pioneers, our success has been built on attracting students and teachers who have outgrown overly ritualized and rule-bound practices being taught as the original art, and the propaganda associated with promoting one style over another. We strongly believe that tradition is not about blindly following in the footsteps of the old masters, or even preserving their ashes for that matter, but rather keeping the flame of their spirit alive, and seeking out what they originally sought. Known for our thinking-outside-the-box mindset, we have been a dependable source of information helping both students and teachers successfully build bridges across styles for more than twenty years. While we’ve established a sterling reputation for our many Japanese-to-English translations of the pioneer’s writings, on-line dialogue, Journals and instructional DVDs, the principal focus of our attention is mentoring and empowering enthusiastic learners of all rank and style and helping instructors understand and develop more effective curriculums through which to impart the functional application practices of kata.

We are widely recognized for our HAPV-theory2-person drillsquarterly Journal,Karate Study List (KSL)instructional DVDs and comprehensive English translations which include many original books and historical documents; “The Bible of Karate- The “Bubishi,”  Matsumura’s 1882 “Seven Precepts of Bu,” and his 1885 “Zaiyunomei,” Itosu’s “1908 “Ten Lessons,” Miyagi Chojun’s 1934 “Outline of “Karatedo,“ the minutes of the famous 1936 “”Meeting of the Okinawan Masters,” Motobu Choki’s “Watashi no Karate-jutsu,” Taira Shinken’s 1964 ”Encyclopedia of Kobudo,” Funakoshi Gichin’s early [1914 thru 1934] writings, and “Nagamine Shoshin’s “Biographies of” Karate & Tegumi Masters,” to name the most important ones.

Our services include an on-line network for intellectual exchange among members. Our principal activity focuses on mentoring learners and teachers of Japanese/Okinawan Karate/Kobudo [both classical & contemporary] through dialogue, lecture, journals, instructional DVD and special-interest activities. We have successfully built bridges across styles uniting like-minded learners all over the world for more than twenty years through such exchange.

Our membership is aimed at bringing together a new generation of more progressive learner seeking to better understand the history , philosophical and technical practices of the original art… and not afraid to step outside their own peer group to find it!  Our information-base brings together the product of generations of experience for the purpose of unreservedly sharing with its membership.

What else do I get?

More questions?

I want to join now!

Do I have to be a researcher or black belt to join?
Applicants DO NOT have to be black belts nor researchers of any kind, as membership criteria is not based upon rank or knowledge… but rather, “desire to learn.”

Who Applies for Membership in the IRKRS?
Generally speaking, our membership is made up of almost exclusively of karate enthusiasts looking to better understand the unadulterated history, philosophy, and technical application [kata] of the original art along with its [Japanese/Okinawan] culture, language and the biographies of its early pioneers.  We have thousands of members worldwide from various styles, schools and organisations/associations.

* It’s important to understand that subscribing to a membership with the Society should not be considered a division of loyalty with your existing group but rather a dependable way of strengthening it.  It is an opportunity to learn the unabridged ‘secrets’ of karate from an internationally recognized group professional by example and unbiased by style.

The KU Pathway

The KU Pathway

If you have questions about membership or need additional information, please contact me, Patrick McCarthy, c/o patrick_mccarthy@mac.com

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